Juggling Summer, Kids, Sheep and Writing

Summer timeThroughout the month of June, I wrangled with what to do with July and August. I didn’t want to see two months pass with nothing accomplished. After all, I have big plans for the fall and couldn’t have things stall over summer, creating a back-log of work for September.

No, I couldn’t do that.

Keeping up with the pace I had set over winter wouldn’t do either since the six hours of ‘free time’ while the kids were in school was gone while they enjoyed summer vacation. Many ideas came to me. Putting my blogs on hold and focussing on my novel and column writing was the obvious course of action to get things done, but I didn’t want to lose ground on the the social front.

What I settled on is working for me so far. It may be modified as summer passes, but I think if I can keep up with this simple schedule, I’ll still get lots of work completed, and I’ll be able to look back on summer as a positive time with kids, animals, outdoors and writing.

Here it is…

Each day I must:

1) Write 500 words of Pockets of Wildflowers, a romance novel, for Quarter Castle Publishing’s new imprint Castle Romance (approximate time: 15 minutes)

2) Edit Scattered Stones, book 2 of The Castle Keepers series for 30 minutes

3) Edit one chapter of Fearless in the Irons by Sam Smith (approximate time: 30 minutes)

4) Write one blog post (or at least half of one) (approximate time: 30 minutes)

5) Write 100 words of the short story, Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts (approximate time: 10 minutes)

Add: one 500-word genealogy column a week and replying to dozens of email messages.

If I use my time efficiently, I should be able to complete items one to five in less than two hours. By the time September 1st rolls around I’ll have:

1) Completed the draft of my first romance novel; goal 30,000 words.

2) Completed the initial edit of Scatted Stones.

3) Completed the edit of Fearless in the Irons.

4) Kept my blogs active throughout my usual ‘fall-behind’ months.

5) Completed and published Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts.

Some might ask: Why don’t you focus on editing Scattered Stones?

My answer: When I step into the Land of Ath-o’Lea, I must go completely. Interruptions—which I’ll have all summer—are detrimental to my fantasy state of mind.

Others might ask: Why only 100 words for Miss Tuttle’s story?

My answer: I’ve been struggling with the ending. I think I need another one to two thousand words to complete the story, but for whatever reason, I can’t find them. Forcing myself to write 100 words a day seems to be working. It’s baby steps towards the end, but at least it’s moving forward. As my nephew recently posted on his Facebook status: Even if you’re crawling, you’re moving faster than those on the chesterfield.

Still other might ask: How can you manage to write an entire novel over summer?

My answer: 500 words at a time. As it turns out, I reach this limit within 15 minutes and must force myself to stop. Give it a try: note the goal 500 words, and write without editing. When you reach your goal, stop. Go do something else. The next day, write another 500 words. I don’t think much while I write; I do all my thinking for the novel while I’m feeding the animals before I sit down. By the time I reach the computer, my fingers are burning to record the images running through my head.

500 words a day x 60 days = 30,000 words.

At the end of August, I’ll let you know how all this juggling worked. Did I flounder or fly?

How are you managing your summer writing projects? Have you put them on hold until September? Or have you dedicated a block of time each day to accomplishing something during the hazy, lazy days of summer?

Juggling Summer

5 thoughts on “Juggling Summer, Kids, Sheep and Writing

  1. Your plan sounds great! I need to start setting defined goals for my writing as well. My little ones are unpredictable and still quite needy so it would have to be really early in the morning (a time when I have been trying to walk) or late at night (when I am always so sleepy). If I can get into a routine and make small goals for myself I am sure I would get a lot more writing done. Your short story sounds fun. If you want someone to read “Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts” fire it off to me.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jayne

    • It’s tough with young kids, Jayne. You just never know what the day will bring. I just go with the flow with the hope something will be accomplished by August 31st, but never beat myself up about it. Life is life and I wouldn’t miss being home with my kids.

      Thanks for the offer to read “Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts” but I have two beta readers already.

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